Thoughts #1

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, October 7, 1963

Weekend Readings April

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Right: my favorite book series at the moment, left: a day at sea.

Dear reader,

April has been a whirlwind of a month. It has gone by so quickly but I had a blast. I had some good days with work and some family members had their birthdays and we celebrated in style and had some good family time. Personally, I am excited about the future and what it will bring. I feel strong within myself and feel in touch with what I want. I am a little apprehensive to look further into the future because I have so much stuff to do and I'm trying to control what will happen, something one can never achieve. However, after watching some good TEDtalks and taking a few moments to breathe and meditate, I feel like I am reading to see whatever happens. I have read good books, seen nice things and spend time with people that I love. The sun has been shining more, the flowers have blossomed and I am able to walk outside without freezing, which has been such a nice change from March.

Right: high tea with my good friend, left: flowers in our garden

Some things I have been loving this month:
  • To read: two articles I have been loving this month are a New York Times article and a Vanity Fair article. The New York Times article is all about how important friendships are, and how our brainwaves even synchronize when you have a good friendship. So nice to read and so interesting. I saw a TEDtalk about how important relationships are the key to a long life. Now I've read this article, I am sure that this is one of the most important factors in life: having good meaningful relationships with others. The Vanity Fair article is something completely different, but it is a nice article written about the British Aristocracy and how has been changing. Emma Thynn is such an interesting person, and it was a nice read for someone who is an utter and complete Anglophile.
  • To view: there are two links I have especially been enjoying this month. I have always been an admirer of people to create cute graphics or online creations. These two fill my nerd-heart with joy: little cute comics about the new Avengers film and architecture creations of some of my favorite films and series. I want more!
  •  To watch: two videos I have been enjoying are little silly videos. They don't require more concentration or are even educational ones, but sometimes you just need to be entertained. The first video is about people guessing stranger's zodiac signs. Yes, it sounds as silly as it is. This man, Ray, has been an astrologer for a long time and over the course of the video, something amazing happens and people are in interesting, real and even serious conversations. So nice to watch and I want to meet Ray now. The second video is from one of my favorite YouTube channels, named WongFu Productions. They do sketches and comedy and if you don't know them yet, please check them out immediately. They have recently uploaded a new animation video named 'Skinny Dipping Lessons!' and the video is so, so cute and very funny.
  • Recommendation: my recommendation for this month is the new book series that I have been loving. The series is called: The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley. You guys, it's so, so good. It's like a good mix between 'who do you think you are', detective novels, and traveling to another time and country all in one. It's about these adopted sisters who, after their adoptive father dies, go and find their true heritage. Each sister has its own book and four books have been written so far. I am absolutely 100% loving every single page of this series so far. I am very excited for the next installment this fall!

Dear Diary, on March

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Dear you,

March has been a whirlwind of a month, hence why I haven't written much (or anything). I've been very busy with work, where I feel more and more at ease and had, dare I say, a life-changing holiday. My family and I went to Lapland, Finland, where I experienced the most wonderful landscape, nature, cold and excursions. I've always said that the cold is my favorite experience, but having been there, I am sure of it. The calm, the silence and the iciness is just my vibe, you know. I can't wait to go back to the north and experience more. More dream holiday and discoveries have been planned in my head and I cannot wait to execute them!

Some skies that I have seen in Lapland. The Nothern Lights were such an experience!

Personally, this month has been a challenge. As the spring opens up and welcomes us into our new surroundings, I'm finding more and more people wanting to experience that little thing called love. I feel strange because I am not. I kept wondering this month how my heroines like Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson experienced those new features in their life as a mirror of mine: standing alone as others move forward. As I'm growing older, I am falling behind every person that I know by now, experience wise, and I don't know how to deal with that. I am trying to be kind to myself, feel good about the person that I am becoming, as on the other hand I feel excluded and alone. I need to be more assertive when people tell me about their experiences and let them be as they are. I am never judging any person because their experience is their own and I am genuinely happy when another friend has that little smile and say 'Lau, I have to tell you something'. How wonderful that is! I need to take the compliment 'I thought of you and when I knew it was okay', as a compliment because I am involved in someone life without even being present. On the other hand, it is difficult for me to explain to them how I feel and how I view things in that area because I am different and do experience these things oppositely as they do. However, this month taught me how nice it is to be by myself and be okay with that. I have listened to my feelings and been proud of the person I have become this month. Spending 10 days with family is exhausting enough and I have come out of it people closer to the person I am happy to be with. I have laughed this month, I have cried, I have fallen down but have gotten up. As I move forward into April, I want to continue being this person I am becoming. I am getting more responsibility at work, people actually listen to me when I give input (even though I still feel like an imposter most of the time), I have spent some lovely times with friends and by myself. April, here I come!

Things that have put a smile on my face this month:

  • This thought-provoking New Yorker article on how the current economy is basically wanting you to work yourself to death and how this is stimulated and encouraged by people in charge. I made me think about my own career path and how to make sure I am never put in that position. 
  • As a friend of mine and I were talking about possibly taking a trip to Ireland, I found a really nice article in Happinez magazine about a person who went on a fairy hunting trip to Ireland! Now I am even more inspired to go and meet the fairy folk. Maybe they allow me to stay and I can live happily ever after.
  • I'm enamored and obsessed with Lucinda Riley's Seven Sisters book series. It is like 'Who do you think you are' wrapped up in mystery, discovery and traveling about the world. Oh my! I want to read them all NOW. Books, how I love thee.
  • And finally, there is a super cool podcast on linguistics (yes you read that right) and it's called Lingthusiasm (such a great word) and their new episode on 'untranslatable words' is a fun one and you should listen to it, even if you haven't studied linguistics. Language is cool people!

Book to Movie Report 2018: Part 1

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Generally, I am not a fan of making new years resolutions. Mainly because you usually never stick to them, or making you feel worse for not keeping them the longer the year goes on. I am tired of making resolutions like 'getting fitter' or 'losing weight'. They never work, or they only work for a short while and then you eat again and the weight comes back quicker than before. Therefore, I've decided to set a little challenge for myself. I wanted to read more and watch more films, generally, do things that I'm interested in. Hence I tried to challenge myself to read one book a month that has been adopted into a film and watch the film as well. I'm trying to do one a month and I've made a neat little schedule of books and films that I can watch each month. As I was beginning the year, I decided to start with a good, old, Jane Austen. Austen can never do me wrong and I've enjoyed reading her books so far, but the one I choose was always one I couldn't get through. I am talking about Sense & Sensibility. 

I've read Pride & Prejudice when I was about 14/15 and fell in love with the story and its character. It wasn't long after since the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film came out and I fell deeply in love with that particular adaptation and its story. However, when I wanted to read Sense & Sensibility after, I found it a "rip off" and couldn't connect with the characters. Since then I've read other stories by Jane Austen, but never quite wanted to start Sense & Sensibility again. That is until I saw the 1996 adaptation with Emma Thompson and thought to myself "If Emma likes it, I surely must". Thus, for the first month of 2018, I immersed myself in Austen's debut novel Sense & Sensibility (1811). 

I didn't quite realize how funny the story was. Characters made me chuckle and I felt like I was watching a spectacle from afar. As someone who has read some Jane Austen before, I could guess it had a "happy ending" but I was still curious to see how ended up where and with whom. Mind you, the film has taken out huge chunks of the novel, playing with its character in a bold matter and actually only six or seven lines from the whole novel made it into the film. Nonetheless, the novel and its accompanying film are hugely alike. Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay and creates a story that keeps its force as a study of class and money and character, but aims mostly for sheer pleasure and keeps it funny. You almost forget that essentially, this novel is all about the cash. 

It was a joy to read the book and a laugh to see the film. Even though not many lines from the book were kept for the film, the essential storyline came through beautifully and the actors were wonderful. Everyone is still so young and full of shine and it was wonderful to venture into this story and its characters. It also reminded me of how much of a badass Emma Thompson is. She also kept a diary during the film, from which I've read parts and she is just amazing. I keep remembering these two quotes that, in my opinion, sums up Emma Thompson's genius:
"Very nice lady served us drinks at the hotel and was followed in by a cat. We al crooned at it. Alan  (Rickman) to the cat (very low and meaning it): "Fuck off." The nice lady didn't turn a hair. The cat looked slightly embarrassed but stayed."
"Kate (Winslet) came down stone stairs very carefully to protect her leg, slipped and hurt her wrist. She's at the hospital now, having an X-ray. Frankly, I'm not expecting her to survive the night."

I mean... come on! If only we all could have been there during the filming of this film. Frankly, I think she and Jane Austen would have been fast friends. We also shouldn't forget her masterful speech at the Golden Globes for winning best film (and the Oscar later that award season). Also, check out this wonderful Guardian film review by Paul Laity. 

Next on my list: the Color Purple for February (and Black History Month). 

Life at 26

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Dear me,

It's been a long time coming but here I am. This is my life at 26. I wanted to do a little 'Beginners' clip of how my life looks like, just as the start of the film (watch the clip here).

So, this is what the sky looked like on my birthday. It was cold, crisp and very bright, just how I like it. There was a quote from my friend's fridge that really resonated with me. It says: 'Lost: how can I have lost something if I can still see it with my eyes closed?'. It is true and something I hadn't thought about before but found very beautiful. Even when you don't see some things or people or even feelings how can they truly be gone if you still see them in the land of darkness? When I lost my grandmother, I didn't really know how to process it because the feeling of losing someone is so strange. Everything is normal but something key is missing and you cannot get it back. Now I realize that I haven't really lost her because I still feel her when I close my eyes. Not literally, but she's definitely still there.
The picture on the far left is me. Hello! It is very unusual for me to take a full body picture because of my shape. Bigger women in society have such a stigma and normally I like to stay away from it as far as possible. I know how I got here and it's a mental progress to keep up. But I am healthy, I am fine and this outfit looked hella cute so I had to commemorate the occasion. The picture in the left corner is the last film I watched at the cinema. Oh my, I still cannot explain my feelings well when I talk about this film because it touched my heart in such a way that I am still baffled how it did it. Honestly, go see it, you will not regret it. As a person who finds it hard to like people and be comfortable with them, the characters in this film told me all the things I needed to hear to move forward. Last weekend I had some great life conversations with women who I aspire and love, and together with this film, I am ready to move forward and leave the negative stuff behind. Mostly the negative mental stuff. It is strange to hear people talk about age because now that I'm 26 I feel like there's even more pressure on people. You're supposed to, like, know things at 26, have a life plan, or at least have tried to have a relationship with another person. I have none of these things but I do feel like I am a proper grown up. I cannot hide anymore. This is the year where I make myself happy and stop labeling things as normal. I am fine on my own.
The last picture is my to-read list. I always have books on my list but after hanging out with all my book friends, the list always grows and grows. I cannot wait to dive in, gain new knowledge, laugh at jokes and be in worlds unbeknownst until now. Reading is my life's greatest pleasure and that will never change. The books on this list are:

  • Alice Walker - The Color Purple
  • David Crystal - a Little Book of Language
  • BrenĂ© Brown - Braving the Wilderness: the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone
  • Lang Leav - the Universe of Us
  • Lucinda Riley - the Seven Sisters
  • Gail Honeyman - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Enjoy the rest of your week!
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